Supreme Court of the Philippines

Supreme Court approves new guide for lawyers’ conduct

Jairo Bolledo

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Supreme Court approves new guide for lawyers’ conduct

HIGH COURT. Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and associate justices attend the special en banc session, on October 14, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

The Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability 'is part of the Supreme Court’s plan to 'craft a modern, relevant, and responsive guide for lawyers’ conduct'

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously approved the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA), a guide for the conduct of lawyers.

The Court’s Public Information Office said in a statement Tuesday, April 12, that the SC en banc unanimously approved the CPRA during its session in Baguio City.

The CPRA “is part of the Supreme Court’s plan to update the 34-year-old Code of Professional Responsibility and craft a modern, relevant, and responsive guide for lawyers’ conduct,” the SC PIO said.

Among the important changes in the new code for lawyers is the addition of “accountability in the title of the old Code as a significant reinforcement of ethical commitment among lawyers,” said the High Court. Some changes were also made in the Lawyer’s Oath, which “binds all lawyers as a source of obligations such that its violation is a ground for suspension, disbarment, or disciplinary action.”

Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who authored the revisions, explained that there were some missing words in the Lawyer’s Oath that are essential in the basic foundation of being a lawyer.

“For the longest time, we took the Lawyer’s Oath without mentioning the concept of justice as well as access to justice,” Leonen said back in January.

The code of conduct was also enhanced as a response to the developments in technology that “significantly” affect the legal practice. The new code will also provide guidelines on the lawyers’ responsible use of social media, “including on giving legal advice in different online platforms” and “sharing unverified information and news.”

In crafting the guide, the High Court held a five-part ethics caravan in key areas in the country – Cebu, Davao, Naga City, Baguio City, and Manila – for consultations.

The caravan was spearheaded by the SC’s subcommittee for the revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility chaired by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, and vice chaired by associate justices Maria Filomena Singh and Samuel Gaerlan.

Over 2,000 legal professionals participated in the series of consultations during the caravan held from September 2022 to January 2023.

The CPRA will be formally launched on Thursday, April 13. Aside from the SC magistrates, over 250 members of the Bench and the Bar, including prosecutors and members of the academe, will attend event, as well as other guests.

During the launch, a signing of the Manifesto of Commitment to Ethical Responsibility will also be held. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.